Farmers Market Find: Pomelo

Candied pomelo rind

Okay, now I am really cheating. I haven"t been to a farmers" market since I left Florida. It"s plainly not even farmers market season. And what"s worse, I found my pomelos at Meijer. Meijer! But in my defense, the Meijer store near me is a treasure trove of unusual, hard-to-find and ethnic ingredients from White Lily Flour -- the absolute best for … [Read more...]

Winter Cooking: Oxtail Stew

When stewed, oxtail literally falls of the bone and the gelatin in the bones creates a luxurious texture.

As a cook, I seek novelty. I am a sucker for a new dish, a new technique, a new ingredient. When I walk through a farmers' market or a nice grocery store and my eye falls on an unfamiliar vegetable or a strange condiment, I immediately get excited: "What's that? Goat butter? I have to have it." It is only once I bring something home that I set … [Read more...]

Farmers' Market Find: Romanesco

My first thought when I saw the romanesco was: is that an example of naturally-occurring fractals?

Imagine a pale green cauliflower with strange conical florets and you have romanesco broccoli, a cauliflower variant from the part of Italy near Rome. It"s one of the most beautiful vegetables you will ever see. Apparently, the pointy florets are an example of fractals in nature. And that is by far the geekiest thing I will ever say on West of the … [Read more...]

Farmers' Market Find: Damson Plums

I have mentioned before that one of my favorite things about shopping at farmers' markets is finding unusual, old-fashioned or heirloom crops that are not available anywhere else. At the Oak Park Farmers' market, I have found garlic scapes, wild ramps, tayberries, gooseberries, squash blossoms, ground cherries and many other new-to-me fruits and … [Read more...]

On Imaginary Friends

One of my all-time favorite articles from The New Yorker is a 2002 piece by Adam Gopnik about his daughter Olivia"s imaginary friend, Charlie Ravioli. The funny thing about Charlie Ravioli, aside from his wonderful name, was that he was always too busy to play with Gopnik"s daughter; at dinner, Olivia would report that she bumped into Ravioli and … [Read more...]